Saturday, February 3, 2024

SHREDDED BEEF SANDWICHES WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS & PEPERONCINI

This sandwich makes a delicious dinner accompanied with a salad or soup. There is enough left over for another couple of dinners or lunches. The entire house had the amazing aroma of that chuck roast slowly cooking in my oven for hours.  You can use a slow-cooker, but brown the meat first.




2 T avocado or olive oil, divided
2 large yellow onions, cut in half and sliced
½ to 4 lb chuck or rump roast trimmed of excess fat
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups beef broth
1 T roasted beef base (in an 8-oz jar)
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 T fresh oregano sprigs or freeze-dried
4 cloves garlic, cut in half
Provolone cheese, sliced
Golden peperoncini in a jar with juice
Buttered and toasted Italian hoagie rolls

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat one tablespoon of the oil over medium heat and sauté the onions, for about 15 minutes until caramelized; stirring often.
Remove and set aside on the counter in a bowl and cover.

Season the roast on both sides with salt and pepper.
To the same pot, add the other tablespoon of oil and brown the roast on both sides.

When brown, add the beef broth, beef roasted beef base, rosemary, oregano, garlic, and juice from the ½ the jar of peperoncini.
Cover with a lid and bake in a 275 degree F oven for 6 hours.

Remove from oven and carefully transfer roast to a cutting board and let cool a few minutes..

While roast is cooling, pour the beef broth from the pot through a fine mesh strainer into a saucepan. Keep warm on the stove.

Using two forks, shred the beef completely and place in a medium saucepan and keep warm on the stove. Discard any fat that may be on the roast.

To Assemble
Place a generous amount of shredded beef on the bottoms of the toasted rolls.
Add some of the caramelized onions.
Top with cheese and place under a broiler for just a couple of minutes; long enough to melt the cheese.
Top with a few peperoncini, trimmed of stems.
Serve with individual small bowls of the beef juice for dipping the sandwiches.

Makes 6 to 8 sandwiches

Saturday, January 13, 2024

LOBSTER FRA DIAVOLO OVER FETTUCCINE

It is rare to find this lobster dish in a restaurant that is affordable and chock full of lobster.
It was $23.00 for two large lobster tails and the canned tomatoes and fettuccine, I had in my pantry.  My husband was a happy man last night!



2 frozen lobster tails, thawed

3 T olive oil, divided
½ t sea salt
½ to 1 t red pepper flakes (depending upon how spicy you like it)
¼ t fine ground black pepper

½ medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced or minced
½ t dried oregano (I used freeze-dried)
½ t dried basil (I used freeze-dried)
½ cup dry white wine
2 cups crushed Italian tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ lb fettuccine
2 T chopped Italian parsley
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

In a large skillet, add 2 cups cold water.
Bring to a boil and add 1 t sea salt.
Add lobster tails, cover with a lid and simmer 6 to 7 minutes.
Remove from skillet with tongs, and set aside to cool.
Save about ½ cup of the lobster cooking water and set aside.

In the same skillet, over medium heat, add 2 tablespoon of the olive oil, and cook the onion until translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.  
Add the garlic, oregano, and basil and cook another minute.
Add the wine and crushed tomatoes and simmer over low heat for 15 to 18 minutes, until sauce slightly thickens.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook fettuccine in boiling salted water, until al dente, about 7 to 8 minutes.

Remove lobster meat from shells and chop into large pieces.

Add lobster and brandy or cognac to sauce and heat through. . .don't overcook.

Drain pasta and place back into the pan where you cooked the paste.
Add a ladle full of sauce to pasta and mix to combine.

Divide pasta between two warm pasta bowls.
Add some sauce with the lobster.
Drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil.
Garnish with parsley and serve.

Serves 2

Saturday, December 23, 2023

SPAGHETTI WITH SHRIMP FRA DIAVOLO

 Fra Diavolo is an Italian-American creation which translates to 'brother devil'.

All'Arrabbiata is an Italian creation from Rome which translates to 'angry'. They are both spicy, using red pepper flakes and have a tomato base. 
You can serve shrimp fra diavolo with pasta or without. Serve this with a green salad, and a glass of vino rosso.



1 lb large to jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
3 T olive oil, divided
½ t sea salt
½ to 1 t red pepper flakes (depending upon how spicy you like it)
¼ t fine ground black pepper

½ medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced or minced
½ t dried oregano (I used freeze-dried)
½ cup dry white wine
2 cups crushed Italian tomatoes, preferably San Marzano

½ lb spaghetti

2 T chopped Italian parsley
2 T chopped fresh basil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

In a bowl, combine the shrimp, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt, red pepper flakes, and ground black pepper.

In a large skillet, over high heat, add the shrimp mixture and cook until lightly brown on both sides, about 2 minutes, each side.
Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

In the same skillet, over medium heat, add the last tablespoon of the olive oil, and cook the onion until translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.  
Add the garlic and oregano and cook another minute.
Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon to break up any brown bits.
Add the crushed tomatoes and simmer over low heat for 15 to 18 minutes, until sauce slightly thickens.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in boiling salted water, until al dente, about 8 minutes.
Take out about ¼ cup pasta water to add to thin the sauce.
Scoop up all of the pasta using a spaghetti fork and add to the sauce in the large skillet. Combine well the add the shrimp to the sauce including any juices in bowl and simmer another 2 to 3 minutes, until heated through.

Stir in the parsley and basil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide the spaghetti between 2 warm pasta bowls.
Spoon on sauce and 6 shrimp per bowl.
Drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil.

Serves 2

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

SUNDAY RIGATONI WITH BEEF SHANK GRAVY

Here is a hearty Sunday Italian-American dinner from Mamaw, Elizabeth Greco Noviello. Some Italian-Americans call their sauce that is cooked with meat "gravy". The beef is so tender and the marrow bones give the gravy so much flavor. Buona Domenica a tutti!



2 (28 oz) cans whole peeled Italian tomatoes
2 lbs beef shank with marrow bones intact
2 T extra-light olive oil or avocado oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced
4 oz pancetta, diced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 T tomato paste
½ cup dry red wine
½ t red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T chopped fresh basil
1 lb rigatoni
Chopped fresh basil, for garnish
Freshly grated Grana Padano* or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Pour tomatoes into a large bowl and hand-crush them, removing the hard center cores.
Alternatively, use an immersion blender to chop the tomatoes.

In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, brown the beef shanks in a tablespoon of oil for about 6 to 7 minutes on each side. Do not turn the shanks until they are deeply browned. This will add flavor and allow the meat to release from the pan. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside.
Pour off any excess grease and add the rest of the oil.
Sauté the onion and pancetta for about 10 minutes over low heat. Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, wine or water, red pepper flakes, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Simmer for 10 minutes, then return the beef shanks to the pan and nestle them into the sauce. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and place in a 325-degree F oven for 2 to 2 ½ hours.
Using tongs, transfer the beef shanks to a cutting board.
When cool enough to handle, shred the meat and place back into the pot. Discard the marrow bones. Reheat gravy and stir in chopped basil.
Boil the rigatoni in salted water for about 9 to 10 minutes, until al dente.
Drain rigatoni and pour back into the pot.
Add a couple of ladles of the gravy (with some shredded meat) to the pasta and toss.
Spoon into warm pasta bowls, add a little more of the gravy and meat to the top of the pasta. Sprinkle with some chopped basil and serve with grated cheese.
Serves 4

* Grana Padano cheese is one of the world’s first hard cheeses; it was made by monks near Milan, Italy, in the 12th century. Grana means “grain” in Italian, referring to the texture of the cheese.

Sunday, October 8, 2023

ROASTED BUTTERFLIED CHICKEN WITH FRESH SALSA VERDE

To butterfly a chicken for roasting, you remove the backbone, make a slit in the breastbone, also known as keel bone, and flatten it before cooking. The chicken cooks faster and the skin browns more evenly with this method. I made a fresh salsa verde (green sauce) to serve along with the chicken.  



1 (3 to 4 lb) whole chicken
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 T extra-light olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place chicken, breast side down, on a plastic cutting board.
Cut out the backbone with kitchen shears and trim off any excess fat at the base of the tail.
Discard chicken back or save in a plastic baggie and freeze for making stock later.
Using a sharp knife, make a slit at the top, between the breastbone (this will help flatten the chicken).
Turn chicken over and press down hard with your hands to flatten the chicken.
Tuck wings under and flip legs inward and down.

Place thyme sprigs on a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan.
Place chicken, breast side up, on top of the thyme sprigs.
Rub the olive oil all over the skin of the chicken.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Place in oven and roast for about 60 minutes, basting with pan juices, after 30 minutes. 
Chicken is done when the skin is golden brown and breast meat registers 165 degrees F with an instant-read thermometer.

While chicken is roasting, make the Salsa Verde.

Remove chicken from oven and place on a cutting board, tented with foil for 5 minutes before cutting into pieces.

Salsa Verde
1 large bunch Italian parsley
8 large basil leaves
2 T capers, drained
2 anchovy fillets
1 clove garlic
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 T extra-virgin olive oil

Place ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
Spoon into a small serving bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves 4

Friday, September 29, 2023

CRISPY CLASSIC CHICKEN PARMIGIANA - Pollo alla Parmigiana

This is one of America's favorite Italian dishes. In Italy, they make it with veal.


Lee's Kitchen Tips:
You may wonder what the difference is between marinara sauce and tomato sauce.
Marinara sauce is a tomato sauce without any meat. Tomato sauce can be flavored with pancetta and then removed.




Marinara Sauce
2 T olive oil
½ medium yellow onion, diced
½ t red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 (28-oz) can San Marzano-style whole peeled crushed Italian tomatoes
¼ cup water
½ cup dry white wine
1 t granulated sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T chopped fresh basil

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
Add the onion and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the red pepper flakes and garlic to the saucepan and sauté another minute.
Pour the crushed tomatoes into the saucepan, water, wine, sugar and season with salt and pepper. 
Slowly simmer, uncovered for 25-30 minutes, while you prepare the chicken.

Chicken
2 small to medium boneless chicken breasts, partially frozen
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
1 T water
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup dry breadcrumbs
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
½ cup avocado, peanut oil, or plain olive oil, for frying
6 oz (1 ½ cups) grated mozzarella cheese
2 T thinly sliced fresh basil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Chicken is easier cut if partially frozen.
Stand each chicken breast on its side and slice diagonally, like you would with a baguette of bread, into 4 slices.  
Now you will have 8 thiner-small chicken breast cutlets.
Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.

In a shallow bowl, add flour and season with salt and pepper.
In a second shallow bowl, add the egg and water and whisk with a fork to combine.
In a third shallow bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, panko, and ¼ cup of the Parmigiano cheese.

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.

Dip each chicken cutlet into the flour, then into the beaten egg, and then into the breadcrumb mixture. Set aside on a platter.
Cook chicken 4-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
You may have to cook chicken in two batches.

Place a couple ladles of tomato sauce in the bottom of a baking dish.

Place chicken cutlets on top of sauce.
Top with another ladle of tomato sauce.  
Top with mozzarella cheese and the rest of the Parmigiano cheese.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until cheese is bubbling and the chicken is completely cooked through.

Serve with spaghetti and a green salad.

Serves 2 to 4

Thursday, September 7, 2023

CHICKEN MARSALA - Pollo al Marsala


2 small or medium size boneless chicken breasts halves
½ cup all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T peanut oil or avocado oil, for frying
8 oz cremini or white mushrooms, wiped clean, trimmed, and sliced
½ yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
2 T unsalted butter
½ cup Marsala wine
¼ cup chicken broth or stock

Cut each chicken breast in half, lengthwise.
Cut each half in half, crosswise.  Now you have 4 cutlets.
Gently pound chicken between layers of plastic wrap to an even thickness.
Pour flour into a shallow bowl and generously season with salt and pepper.
Dredge chicken pieces in flour and place on a clean plate or platter.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
Fry the chicken for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side until golden brown.
Place chicken back on the plate or platter and set aside.

Add the mushrooms and onion to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Melt in the butter and stir to combine.

Add the wine and chicken broth.
Place the chicken back in the skillet, spoon some of the sauce over and cook another 4 to 5 minutes.

Serve with buttered noodles or roasted potatoes.

Serves 2